Holiday Safety for Cats & Dogs

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‘Tis the season for feasting and festivities, parties, and…pet safety! Throughout the holidays, it’s important to be mindful of our pets and to keep potentially harmful items far from their reach. Here’s a quick list of what belongs on the “naughty list.”

Holiday Food Hazards

  • Chocolate: Great for the holidays, but not so great for pets. Chocolate is toxic for dogs, so be sure to keep it off-limits and away from them if it’s prevalent at your holiday celebrations.
  • Seasoned turkey and turkey skin: Sometimes even in small amounts, seasoned turkey and especially turkey skin, can cause a life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis.
  • Yeast dough: This can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.


    Any food scraps, such as gravy and meat fat, should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to cats and dogs, including onions, raisins, garlic, and grapes. Making sure to clear all the food from your table, counters, and serving areas will also help keep the wrong foods out of your cat or dog’s mouth—and don’t forget to put the trash where your pet can’t reach it.

Dangerous Décor

  • Flowers and festive plants: Poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the most common holiday plants that can be harmful.
  • Christmas trees: These can tip over, so consider securing your tree to the ceiling or a door frame with fishing line.
  • Candles: These are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave your dog alone in an area with a lit candle.
  • Ornaments: Broken ornaments can cause injuries, and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from salt-dough or other food-based materials, out of reach.

For all of the above hazards, quick action can save lives. If your pet is in an emergency, call your vet or opt for VetTriage, which provides an instant video telehealth session with a licensed veterinarian for a $50 fee. It’s available 24/7 and every day of the week—including holidays!

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